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Osteoarthritis and Its Management

Published on May 26, 2016 and last reviewed on Sep 20, 2022   -  4 min read


Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of joint pain in older adults. This article helps you understand its symptoms and treatment options.

Osteoarthritis and Its Management


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease in which there is decreased production of hyaline cartilage, a protective cushion in the knee joint, and also decreased production of lubricant called synovial fluid. As the cushion tissue between the bones decreases, the upper and the lower bones of the legs touch each other causing friction. This starts damaging the surface and slowly erodes the bony tissue.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?

The most common symptoms are:

  1. Deep achy joint pains exacerbated by excessive use. This is the primary symptom of osteoarthritis. Therefore squatting, climbing up and down the stairs, and lifting heavy weights are to be avoided.

  2. The mobility of the joint decreases greatly, and crackling noises are heard during movement.

  3. The affected joint may become stiff in the morning.

What Is the Cause of Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is believed to occur due to deterioration of the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones of the joint. Cartilage is a slippery, firm tissue that ensures frictionless joint motion. If the cartilage wears down completely, the bones rub against each other. Generally, osteoarthritis is referred to as a wear and tear condition. It affects the entire joint, besides affecting the cartilage. It causes changes in the bone and damages the connective tissues holding the joints together and attaching the muscles to the bone. Osteoarthritis can also cause inflammation of the lining of the joint.

What Are the Risk Factors for Osteoarthritis?

People of all races and both sexes are equally affected by osteoarthritis. Generally, it occurs in people of age 40 and above. Nonetheless, it can occur sooner if the people have other risk factors or conditions that increase the risk of getting osteoarthritis. Risk factors include:

How to Diagnose Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis can be diagnosed by physical examination, X-rays, and laboratory tests. During the physical examination, the doctor will check the affected joint for swelling, tenderness, redness, and flexibility. The other tests include:

What Are the Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis?

There is no treatment yet that can be helpful in reversing joint damage due to osteoarthritis. The treatment plan focuses on reducing pain and improving the functioning of the affected joints. The best way to overcome the problem is to build a good mass of muscles around the joint as these muscles encircle the joint and provide stability to the joint and thereby decrease the pain by more than 50 %. The treatment options include:


Osteoarthritis is a condition of joints affecting millions of people worldwide. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but it commonly affects joints in the hands, hips, knees, and spine. Although the joint damage is irreversible, the symptoms of this condition can be managed. Maintaining a healthy weight, staying active and proper treatment can slow the progression of the disorder and help in relieving the symptoms.


Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Stages of Osteoarthritis?

The stages of osteoarthritis are categorized as the following.
- Stage 0 – Normal. It refers to the normal joints where there are no damage.
- Stage 1 – Minor.
- Stage 2 – Mild.
- Stage 3 – Moderate.
- Stage 4 – Severe.


What Is the Treatment for Osteoarthritis?

The treatment for osteoarthritis includes the following.
- Medications, such as analgesics and anti-inflammatory agents, are known to be helpful.
- Physiotherapy exercises are also known to be effective.
- Acupuncture is the best treatment method for osteoarthritis.
- In severe cases, the patient is advised for surgical procedures.


What Is the Difference Between Arthritis and Osteoarthritis?

Arthritis is a term that generally refers to any type of inflammation in joints. Osteoarthritis refers to any type of degenerative disease of the joint disease. This condition is known to affect the cartilage of the joints, knees, hips, and spine.


What Is the Main Cause of Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis occurs due to wear and tear in the cartilage. People who are obese are known to be affected more than others. Repeated stress on the joints can also be the cause. Genetic factors are also a cause in some patients.


What Is the Best Vitamin for Osteoarthritis?

Vitamin D is the best for osteoarthritis. A deficiency of vitamin D can result in osteoarthritis. There are several other supplements that are recommended for osteoarthritis. You should talk to your doctor before taking these supplements.


Does Walking Worsen Osteoarthritis?

If you are an obese person, then walking would be recommended to you for overcoming the obese condition. Otherwise, walking is not good for you as it might increase the load on your knees. If you are suffering from osteoarthritis of the hip or back, then walking can aggravate the condition.


Is Osteoarthritis a Disability?

A condition is categorized as a disability if it causes a restriction in the movements of the joints. Depending on the degree of limitation of daily activities, the severity of the condition is identified. If you are suffering from osteoarthritis for a long time, you should consult your doctor.


What Happens if Osteoarthritis Is Left Untreated?

If osteoarthritis is left untreated, then it can lead to severe disabilities. It is a notable degenerative condition of the joints. The mortality rate from osteoarthritis is low. However, before it develops into a life-threatening one, it is necessary to get medical help.


How Can I Reverse Osteoarthritis?

It is possible to reverse the osteoarthritis condition if proper treatment is planned. The following medications are helpful in reversing the osteoarthritis condition.
- Acetaminophen.
- Duloxetine.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.


What Foods Are Bad for Osteoarthritis?

The following foods are bad for osteoarthritis, and it should be avoided.
Sugar. This includes cookies, cakes, and bakery items.
- Fried food.
- White flour.
- Omega-6 fatty acids.
- Dairy products.


Does Caffeine Affect Osteoarthritis?

Medical researchers suggest that coffee can have a negative effect on Osteoarthritis conditions. It is known to cause weakness in the joints. If you are a regular consumer of coffee, you must reduce your coffee intake so that the condition of osteoarthritis can be cured.


Why Is Osteoarthritis So Painful?

Osteoarthritis is very painful because it causes the joints to lose its stiffness. In the long run, the elasticity of the cartilage is also lost. As a result, the ligaments and tendons stretch a lot and will result in severe pain.


What Is End Stage Osteoarthritis?

In end-stage osteoarthritis, the contact of the bones in the joint is lost. There is complete damage to the articular cartilage. The patients have a complete loss of function, and they find it hard to move. It is good to treat osteoarthritis before it reaches the end-stage.


Does Osteoarthritis Hurt All the Time?

The pain associated with osteoarthritis is never constant. It can be continuous or intermittent. It can happen after walking for a long time, or it can also occur if the person stays in the same place.


What Is Osteoarthritis Pain Like?

Osteoarthritis pain is very sharp. It is aggravated by movements of the joints. The joints can be accompanied by swelling and tenderness. If the pain persists for a very long time, consult your doctor immediately.

Last reviewed at:
20 Sep 2022  -  4 min read




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